The government has made some changes to the visa regulations which came into effect from the 6th April 2013.
They will affect international students in 3 ways:-
1) Re Tier 2 – As you know, one requirement of Tier 2 is that the employer must ensure that they will be paying the specified minimum salary levels for each occupational area as detailed in the ‘Occupation Codes of Practice’, published by the UKBA on their website, before they can issue a certificate of sponsorship. Well, after much lobbying, they have changed the minimum salary levels and created a ‘new entrants rate’ for graduates switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2. This will reduce the pay threshold needed for international students to be employed under the newly formed Tier 2 route. This is good news, as for some occupations, the level was very high.
But there is still the overall minimum level of £20,300 (up from £20,000) and salaries can’t be below this.
2) Re Tier 1-Graduate Entrepreneur route- nationally the government announced that it has expanded the scheme to include an additional 1,000 places for talented MBA graduates from all UK Higher Education Institutions.
The University of Sheffield will have 10 places of these places.
So this means that for the University of Sheffield there will be 20 places a year in total, with 10 of these reserved for MBA students. Graduates on Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur are able to combine employment alongside setting up their business with no limit on hours of work.
3) Tier 4 Doctoral Extension Programme (DES) - From 6 April PhD and other doctoral level students will be able to apply for a 12 month visa extension under Tier 4 to look for skilled work in the UK either on an employed or self- employed basis. Applicants will need to be sponsored by the University under this scheme. This means they will need to be able to show that they intend to work in the UK and will comply with the reporting requirements as required by the University.
The timing of the application is important so check out information on this.
If a graduate goes on to the DES and gets a job and wants to stay on in the UK after the 12 months then they will then have to apply to transfer onto another category such as Tier 2.
So this is all good news and shows that the government is listening – at least a little.
But Employers will not necessarily be aware of these changes so you will need to ensure that you understand your own situation and entitlement and be prepared to explain it to employers at interview etc.
Also please note that this is a very brief overview and the Careers Service can only give very general information on this area. At this University, the Student Union Advice Centre is the expert on visas and the right to work in the UK after studies. So check out their webpages
and follow them on Twitter @SheffieldSAC
You can also have a 1-1 with their International Student Adviser if needed, - contact the Student Advice Centre (0114 2228660) to arrange this.
You will also find information on the UKCISA website- UKCISA
And on the UKBA website UKBA